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Need for public prosecutor's office

29 May 2008

Acquittals reinforce need for public prosecutor's office

Acquittals in three high profile criminal cases have reinforced the need for the establishment of a public prosecutor's office, the Green Party says.

"The fact that people are acquitted does not mean the system is failing," Justice Spokesperson Nandor Tanczos says.

"However these cases raise three questions. Did the police charge the wrong people? Did they ignore alternative explanations? Did they simply not have enough evidence to convict?

"The establishment of a public prosecutor's office would help avoid all of those issues."

In particular, the Green Party is concerned about the statement from respected QC Bruce Squire who claims police often pick a suspect and try to fit a case around them, instead of thoroughly investigating a crime and remaining open minded until all the evidence was clear.

"There are a number of high profile cases where police appear to have decided early on in the investigation who was guilty and looked for evidence to convict, rather than collecting all the available evidence and then looking at where it points"

"This can lead the police to ignore evidence, or fail examine alternative explanations for the evidence available.

"This is especially dangerous when some suspects in a case conform to police stereotypes. For example there is some evidence to suggest that police are more likely to charge males for offences than females.

"The police do get blinkered. A public prosecutors' office could properly review the evidence and decide if, and which, charges should be laid."


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